Builder Sir Robert McAlpine denies keeping blacklist | Business | The Observer The construction company Sir Robert McAlpine has admitted to a high court judge before a hearing this week that a database of names and information held on workers over decades helped it "keep an eye" on individuals, but it denies that the data amounted to an employment blacklist. The firm, which along with others allegedly used the store of information to keep 3,300 workers out of the industry, says that where negative information was held, it was merely used to help the company keep an eye out for future dangerous or unlawful activity. Defence papers filed by the company before the start on Friday of a high court case between it and the alleged victims, admit that the records on file at the Consulting Association – the organisation which held the list on behalf of construction firms – breached the Data Protection Act. Last week, three years after the blacklist was exposed, the ICO began notifying a further 1,200 potential victims that their details were on the alleged blacklist.
Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It's Not a Democracy The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn't a democracy any more. And they've found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy. An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. It's beyond alarming. That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren't in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens. This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. What kind of oligarchy? "But we tend to doubt it." Tom McKay
Police are linked to blacklist of construction workers | Technology | The Observer The police or security services supplied information to a blacklist funded by the country's major construction firms that has kept thousands of people out of work over the past three decades. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has revealed that records that could only have come from the police or MI5 have been discovered in a vast database of files held on 3,200 victims who were deemed leftwing or troublesome. The files were collected by the Consulting Association, a clandestine organisation funded by major names in the construction industry. Its database was seized nearly three years ago, but the extraordinary nature of the information held has only now emerged, following an employment tribunal for one of the victims, Dave Smith, a 46-year-old engineer who had a 36-page file against his name and was victimised repeatedly for highlighting safety hazards on sites, including the presence of asbestos.
What Shrinking Newsrooms Mean In The Age Of The Koch Brothers And Billionaire Donors Back during the not-so-distant glory days of New Jersey's Star-Ledger reign as a regional newspaper powerhouse, the Newark, New Jersey newsroom in the 2000's was bursting with 350 journalists who covered the entire state and pocketed Pulitzers for their coverage of local politicians. Back when Tony Soprano made Jersey mob cool, each week during the show's opening the fictional wise guy paid homage to the daily by sauntering down his driveway to retrieve the Star-Ledger. That's now all a memory. Last week, the Star-Ledger's owner announced massive layoffs at the newspaper as part of a larger effort at consolidation. Today, entire sections of the Newark newsroom sit empty; a newsroom that has shed an astonishing 240 jobs since 2008, or two-thirds of its former staff. All this, at a time when the Star-Ledger's detailed, hometown coverage of the unraveling scandals involving Gov. "We are going to consolidate ourselves right out of a democracy," quipped one New Jersey journalist last week.
An Open Letter to the International Community in BH An open letter to the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed by 130 academics and scholars from around the world. For more than two decades, the international political community has viewed, interpreted, and acted upon the political landscape in Bosnia and Herzegovina almost exclusively through an ethnic lens – despite careful academic scholarship, which consistently warned against such over-simplifications and dangerous pandering to local ethno-nationalist elites. The war, and the peace that has ensued, both overseen (“aided and abetted,” to use the ICTY language) by international observers, have only emboldened the local ethno-nationalist partitocracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which – shielded by fears of new wars and new violence – proceeded to enrich itself in the country with the official youth unemployment rate of 57 percent. The first few days of protests were marred by violence, police repression, but also sustained media and political spin. Signatures:
Looks like the Kochs want to piss away millions again, just like they did in 2012 David Nir wrote earlier about the millions of dollars the Kochs have wasted in Michigan this cycle: Remarkably, despite all that heavy ad spending (and Obamacare lies exposed as b.s.) from Americans for Prosperity, [Democratic Senate candidate Gary] Peters' favorables have barely budged, from 21-22 late last year to 26-27 now. As of the end of March, AFP had spent just over $2 million attacking Peters, and they just announced another $1.5 million buy. Given that the first $2 million bought them absolutely zero advantage in Peters' favor abilities (from a minus one to minus one), do they really think that hammering the same ineffective message will bear better results? But a better example is Ohio's 2012 Senate election. [B]y the time Election Day rolled around, Brown had faced a crazy $40 million spent against him: $31 million on the air, $2 million in polling, $7 million in direct mail, and staff, billboards, and other expenses. What about the head-to-head?
Die Welt als Schachbrett - Der neue Kalte Krieg des Obama-Beraters Zbigniew Brzezinski | Welt (Ungekürzte Fassung) Von HAUKE RITZ, 26. August 2008 – Ausblicke auf eine Präsidentschaft Obamas: Die politischen Zyklen der westlichen Welt sind eng verknüpft mit den Amtszeiten amerikanischer Präsidenten. Nun bereiten sich die Vereinigten Staaten erneut auf einen Regierungswechsel vor. Zbigniew Brzezinski gilt heute neben Henry Kissinger als einer der führenden Strategen amerikanischer Außenpolitik im 20. Die wesentliche Differenz zwischen Brzezinski und den Neokonservativen besteht im Verhältnis zum Islam und zu Israel. Brzezinskis Strategie amerikanischer Vorherrschaft Dies wird besonders deutlich, wenn man die beiden zentralen Prämissen berücksichtigt, die Brzezinski seinem Hauptwerk „The Grand Chessboard“ – aber auch all seinen anderen Schriften – zu Grunde legt. Diesem zweiten Grundsatz liegt die Einschätzung zu Grunde, dass eine Macht, die in Eurasien die Vorherrschaft gewinnt, damit auch die Vorherrschaft über die gesamte übrige Welt gewonnen hätte.
The Most Elitist, Disgusting Supreme Court Has Rigged the Whole System in Favor of the Rich Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on "FOX News Sunday" on July 27, 2013. April 3, 2014 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. You may have heard about the new book, "Flash Boys" by Michael Lewis, about how the stock market is rigged by super-fast computer trading; or perhaps you saw Lewis tell the story on 60 Minutes Sunday night. But it's not just the stock market that is rigged. With Wednesday’s decision in McCutcheon v. Justice Breyer writing for the four Justices who don't represent the billionaire class said the decision undermines the political integrity of our governmental institutions" "It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign. Breyer couldn't be clearer. Please make a contribution to us and we will fight like hell. The battle just gets tougher. Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.
Global Power Project, Part 1: Exposing the Transnational Capitalist Class A giant mansion right below the Chapel of the Rocks in Sedona, Arizona. (Photo: Adam Gessaman / Flickr)The Global Power Project, an investigative series produced by Occupy.com, aims to identify and connect the worldwide institutions and individuals who comprise today's global power oligarchy. By studying the relationships and varying levels of leadership that govern our planet's most influential institutions — from banks, corporations and financial institutions to think tanks, foundations and universities — this project seeks to expose the complex, highly integrated network of influence wielded by relatively few individuals on a national and transnational basis. This is not a study of wealth, but a study of power. Many now know the rhetoric of the 1% very well: the imagery of a small elite owning most of the wealth while the 99% take the table scraps. "The rich," said the report, "are in great shape, financially.” As Val Burris and Clifford L.
Documents released in open records lawsuit show lobbying group pulling legislators' strings At a meeting last spring of a national group that drafts conservative legislation, Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, voted on a policy allowing only lawmakers, and not lobbyists, to introduce model bills. At the same meeting, she sponsored a model bill under the direction of a lobbying group, according to documents released Thursday following an open records lawsuit that cost state taxpayers $15,000 to settle. Brendan Fischer, a lawyer for the liberal Center for Media and Democracy, which filed the lawsuit, said the more than 100 pages of documents provide the first evidence that an effort by the American Legislative Exchange Council to rebrand itself as being legislator-driven is “just a sham.” “This demonstrates that ALEC is really a lobbyist-driven organization,” Fischer said. ALEC spokesman Bill Meierling said the documents are the culmination of a “yearlong witch hunt based on unfounded accusations.” “Each of you will need to introduce the bill,” Herrera wrote.